Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Top Ten Songs of the Week 11/8/10

We’re getting better at this. Our weekly Kasey Kasem-inspired luddite DIY version of a podcast is supposed to happen on Tuesdays; last week we didn’t get to it til Friday, so at this rate we’ll be back on schedule by December! Every week, we try to mix it up, offer a little something for everyone: sad songs, funny songs, upbeat songs, quieter stuff, you name it. We’ve designed this as something you can do on your lunch break if you work at a computer (or if you can listen on your iphone at work: your boss won’t approve of a lot of this stuff). If you don’t like one of these songs, you can always go on to the next one: every link here will take you to each individual song. As always, the #1 song here will appear on our Best Songs of 2010 list at the end of the year.

1. Elvis Costello – One Bell Rings

From his sensational new album National Ransom, this chillingly allusive account of a torture victim draws on the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes as inspiration.

2. LJ Murphy – Fearful Town

One of New York’s greatest chroniclers takes on the gentrification era, live with the superb New Orleans pianist Willie Davis. This one topped the charts here in 2007 so we can’t put it up at #1 again…that would be cheating.

3. The Newton Gang – Westbound

JD Duarte’s soulful Texas baritone delivers this pedal steel-driven country escape anthem: live, they really rock the hell out of it. They’re at the Brooklyn County Fair at the Jalopy on 11/13 at 10.

4. The New Collisions – Dying Alone

This is the video for their offhandedly chilling new powerpop smash from their new album The Optimist. “God knows you hate the quiet, when you’re dying, dying alone.”

5. The Gomorran Social Aid & Pleasure Club – The Great Flood

Noir cabaret by a brass band with a scary girl singer. They’re at the Jalopy on 11/18.

6. Ljova Zhurbin & Clifton Hyde – Theme from The Girl and Her Trust

A new theme for the DW Griffith silent film, live in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Ave. Tunnel.

7. Los Crema Paraiso – Shine on You Crazy Diablo

Venezuelan tinged Floyd cover – for real.

8. Shara Worden with Signal – The Lotus Eaters

The frontwoman of My Brightest Diamond singing one of the highlights of Sarah Kirkland Snider’s new song cycle Penelope.

9. Wayman Tisdale – Let’s Ride

The late NBA star doing some serious funk, featuring George Clinton – this is the cartoon video.

10. Witches in Bikinis – All Hallows Eve

Not the surf punk original but a disco remix, even more over the top and just as funny

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November 11, 2010 Posted by | avant garde music, blues music, classical music, country music, funk music, lists, Music, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elvis Costello Lights up the Greene Space

Last night, in his only New York performance this fall, Elvis Costello and his latest band the Sugarcanes treated a sold-out crowd at WNYC’s Greene Space in SoHo to a lush, often riveting mix of new material (the interview with host Leonard Lopate airs tomorrow, November 3). Costello’s politically charged new album National Ransom is just out, a tuneful, erudite, classy state-of-the-world address which would be the highlight of just about any other musician’s career. For Costello, it’s just another album (double vinyl album, to be precise, also available in the usual digital configurations). Looking wiry and wired, the greatest songwriter in the history of the English language bantered bitingly between songs with Lopate, who quickly sized up the situation and smartly backed off, letting his fellow chatshow host take over and entertain the crowd. At one point, Costello leaned over to look at Lopate’s cheat sheet: Lopate feigned umbrage, Costello graciously responding that his own guests always peek at the questions before they’re asked.

Given the new album’s vintage Americana flavor, Lopate remarked that the songs would be suited for a 78 RPM recording (which Costello has actually done recently). Costello replied that he’d be “utilizing all the available formats to the fullest extent possible…I’m trying to make as many records as possible before the whole thing shuts down.” He was quick to belittle the sonic limitations of an mp3: “They sound like hell – can I say ‘shite?””

Lopate reminded him that there was no going back since the cat was now out of the bag. “Direct to the ears is the best,” Costello grinned, playing to the crowd. He belittled his own guitar chops, as usual, but he played well, firing off a deft series of chromatics on his concluding solo out of a tense, potently evocative version of One Bell Rings, a chillingly allusive account of a torture victim inspired by the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes. Lopate focused on the album’s social relevance: when prodded, Costello didn’t claim to have any answers, although he was quick to assert that, referring to the 2008 market crash, “In other times, if you could have a negative value as currency, they would have thought you were a witch!” The theme played to a murderous crescendo on a rousing version of the album’s title cut, accordionist Jeff Taylor imbuing it with a bit of a zydeco flavor as he would many of the other songs.

The rest of the show was equally gripping. They’d opened with a swinging version of a straight-up country song, I Lost You, following with Dr. Watson I Presume, which builds to an understatedly haunting, relentless, deathly countdown. Jimmie Standing in the Rain, a brooding chronicle of a 1930s performer who “picked the wrong time to do cowboy music – not that there’s a right time,” evoked the terse grimness of Richard Thompson’s Al Bowlly’s in Heaven. The upbeat R&B of The Spell That You Cast had the whole band doing a call-and-response with backing vocals; That’s Not the Part of Him You’re Leaving may be the best country song Costello’s ever written, a lushly successful mix of vintage countrypolitan and characteristically acerbic lyricism. They closed with a mysteriously lyrical spy story, All These Strangers. The album comes out today.

November 2, 2010 Posted by | concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment